After a difficult 2011 recovering from of the March Tōhuku earthquake and tsunami, the Japan office of the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and partners came together in Tokyo in January to mark the start of a new year.
The gathering was for the launch of the Signature Experiences Collection® (SEC) in this market, plus a tour-operator appreciation event and shinnenkai. (A shinnenkai is thetraditional way of ushering in a new year in Japan with co-workers.)
The SEC launch took place at the Canadian Embassy, Tokyo, with 22 media reps and 49 tour operators in attendance. There is now a special Japanese SEC landing page on the trade website, detailing Collection members. Here, Japanese trade and media partners can download the content (text and/or images) they need. The launch detailed opportunities for both travel trade and media to incorporate the Collection into their output.
CTC-Japan also shared details on other activities in this market over the coming months, including the trade familiarization program for tour operators and travel agents, the Canada Specialist Program, Rendez-vous Canada 2012 and Showcase Canada-Asia. Latest statistics show demand for Canadian tourism has improved in this market, with gains bouncing back to original 2011 targets.
The following evening, Jonathan T. Fried, Canadian Ambassador to Japan, hosted a key account appreciation dinner at the Embassy for partners including key Japanese tour operators, airlines, Canadian travel-industry associates, Emerging Market committee members and Team Canada. (Team Canada comprises CTC-Japan, Tourism British Columbia, Travel Alberta, Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, Tourism Prince Edward Island and Tourism Yukon.) Charles McKee, vice-president, International, Siobhan Chretien, regional managing director, Emerging Markets and Maureen Riley, CTC-Japan general manager, led CTC’s presence.
The initial response to the events has been positive. Two tour operators will launch SEC-inspired itineraries as part of their spring/summer lineup, with more expected to follow, while SEC-focused media visits are also in the works.
“The devastating events of 2011 would have left a lesser country on its knees, but Japan is rebuilding rapidly, both physically and emotionally,” says McKee. “Team Canada has ambitious plans to return growth to this tourism market and these events enabled us to share those with as many partners as possible.”
Showcase Canada-Asia will take place in Osaka, Japan, Oct. 15-19.